James K. Baxter (1926-1972)
On the road to the bay was a lake of rushes
Where we bathed at times and changed in the bamboos.
Now it is rather to stand and say
How many roads we take that lead to Nowhere,
The alley overgrown, no meaning now but loss:
Not that veritable garden where everything comes easy.
And by the bay itself were cliffs with carved names
And a hut on the shore by the open fires.
We raced boats from the banks of the river
Or swam in those autumnal shallows.
Growing cold in amber water, riding the logs
Upstream, and waiting for the Sea Monsters.
So now I remember the bay and the little spiders
On driftwood, so poisonous and quick.
The carved cliffs and the great out crying surf
With currents round the rocks and the birds rising.
A thousand times an hour is torn across
And burned for the sake of going on living.
But I remember the bay that never was
And stand like stone and cannot turn away.